Additive effects of pCO2 and temperature on respiration rates of the Antarctic pteropod Limacina helicina antarctica.
ABSTRACT: The Antarctic pteropod, Limacina helicina antarctica, is a dominant member of the zooplankton in the Ross Sea and supports the vast diversity of marine megafauna that designates this region as an internationally protected area. Here, we observed the response of respiration rate to abiotic stressors associated with global change-environmentally relevant temperature treatments (-0.8°C, 4°C) and pH treatments reflecting current-day and future modeled extremes (8.2, 7.95 and 7.7 pH at -0.8°C; 8.11, 7.95 and 7.7 pH at 4°C). Sampling repeatedly over a 14-day period in laboratory experiments and using microplate respirometry techniques, we found that the metabolic rate of juvenile pteropods increased in response to low-pH exposure (pH 7.7) at -0.8°C, a near-ambient temperature. Similarly, metabolic rate increased when pteropods were exposed simultaneously to multiple stressors: lowered pH conditions (pH 7.7) and a high temperature (4°C). Overall, the results showed that pCO2 and temperature interact additively to affect metabolic rates in pteropods. Furthermore, we found that L. h. antarctica can tolerate acute exposure to temperatures far beyond its maximal habitat temperature. Overall, L. h. antarctica appears to be susceptible to pH and temperature stress, two abiotic stressors which are expected to be especially deleterious for ectothermic marine metazoans in polar seas.
Project description:The ecologically important thecosome pteropods in the Limacina spp. complex have recently been the focus of studies examining the impacts global change factors - e.g., ocean acidification (OA) and ocean warming (OW) - on their performance and physiology. This focus is driven by conservation concerns where the health of pteropod populations is threatened by the high susceptibility of their shells to dissolution in low aragonite saturation states associated with OA and how coupling of these stressors may push pteropods past the limits of physiological plasticity. In this manipulation experiment, we describe changes in the transcriptome of the Antarctic pteropod, Limacina helicina antarctica, to these combined stressors. The conditions used in the laboratory treatments met or exceeded those projected for the Southern Ocean by the year 2100. We made two general observations regarding the outcome of the data: (1) Temperature was more influential than pH in terms of changing patterns of gene expression, and (2) these Antarctic pteropods appeared to have a significant degree of transcriptomic plasticity to respond to acute abiotic stress in the laboratory. In general, differential gene expression was observed amongst the treatments; here, for example, transcripts associated with maintaining protein structure and cell proliferation were up-regulated. To disentangle the effects of OA and OW, we used a weighted gene co-expression network analysis to explore patterns of change in the transcriptome. This approach identified gene networks associated with OW that were enriched for transcripts proposed to be involved in increasing membrane fluidity at warmer temperatures. Together these data provide evidence that L.h.antarctica has a limited capacity to acclimate to the combined conditions of OA and OW used in this study. This reduced scope of acclimation argues for continued study of how adaptation to polar aquatic environments may limit the plasticity of present-day populations in responding to future environmental change.
Project description:Ocean acidification (OA), a change in ocean chemistry due to the absorption of atmospheric CO2 into surface oceans, challenges biogenic calcification in many marine organisms. Ocean acidification is expected to rapidly progress in polar seas, with regions of the Southern Ocean expected to experience severe OA within decades. Biologically, the consequences of OA challenge calcification processes and impose an energetic cost.In order to better characterize the response of a polar calcifier to conditions of OA, we assessed differential gene expression in the Antarctic pteropod, Limacina helicina antarctica. Experimental levels of pCO2 were chosen to create both contemporary pH conditions, and to mimic future pH expected in OA scenarios. Significant changes in the transcriptome were observed when juvenile L. h. antarctica were acclimated for 21 days to low-pH (7.71), mid-pH (7.9) or high-pH (8.13) conditions. Differential gene expression analysis of individuals maintained in the low-pH treatment identified down-regulation of genes involved in cytoskeletal structure, lipid transport, and metabolism. High pH exposure led to increased expression and enrichment for genes involved in shell formation, calcium ion binding, and DNA binding. Significant differential gene expression was observed in four major cellular and physiological processes: shell formation, the cellular stress response, metabolism, and neural function. Across these functional groups, exposure to conditions that mimic ocean acidification led to rapid suppression of gene expression.Results of this study demonstrated that the transcriptome of the juvenile pteropod, L. h. antarctica, was dynamic and changed in response to different levels of pCO2. In a global change context, exposure of L. h. antarctica to the low pH, high pCO2 OA conditions resulted in a suppression of transcripts for genes involved in key physiological processes: calcification, metabolism, and the cellular stress response. The transcriptomic response at both acute and longer-term acclimation time frames indicated that contemporary L. h. antarctica may not have the physiological plasticity necessary for adaptation to OA conditions expected in future decades. Lastly, the differential gene expression results further support the role of shelled pteropods such as L. h. antarctica as sentinel organisms for the impacts of ocean acidification.
Project description:Thecosome pteropods (pelagic mollusks) can play a key role in the food web of various marine ecosystems. They are a food source for zooplankton or higher predators such as fishes, whales and birds that is particularly important in high latitude areas. Since they harbor a highly soluble aragonitic shell, they could be very sensitive to ocean acidification driven by the increase of anthropogenic CO(2) emissions. The effect of changes in the seawater chemistry was investigated on Limacina helicina, a key species of Arctic pelagic ecosystems. Individuals were kept in the laboratory under controlled pCO(2) levels of 280, 380, 550, 760 and 1020 microatm and at control (0 degrees C) and elevated (4 degrees C) temperatures. The respiration rate was unaffected by pCO(2) at control temperature, but significantly increased as a function of the pCO(2) level at elevated temperature. pCO(2) had no effect on the gut clearance rate at either temperature. Precipitation of CaCO(3), measured as the incorporation of (45)Ca, significantly declined as a function of pCO(2) at both temperatures. The decrease in calcium carbonate precipitation was highly correlated to the aragonite saturation state. Even though this study demonstrates that pteropods are able to precipitate calcium carbonate at low aragonite saturation state, the results support the current concern for the future of Arctic pteropods, as the production of their shell appears to be very sensitive to decreased pH. A decline of pteropod populations would likely cause dramatic changes to various pelagic ecosystems.
Project description:Background:Pelagic pteropods Limacina helicina are widespread and can play an important role in the food webs and in biosedimentation in Arctic and Subarctic ecosystems. Previous publications have shown differences in the genetic structure of populations of L. helicina from populations found in the Pacific Ocean and Svalbard area. Currently, there are no data on the genetic structure of L. helicina populations in the seas of the Siberian Arctic. We assessed the genetic structure of L. helicina from the Kara Sea populations and compared them with samples from around Svalbard and the North Pacific. Methods:We examined genetic differences in L. helicina from three different locations in the Kara Sea via analysis of a fragment of the mitochondrial gene COI. We also compared a subset of samples with L. helicina from previous studies to find connections between populations from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Results:65 individual L. helinica from the Kara Sea were sequenced to produce 19 different haplotypes. This is comparable with numbers of haplotypes found in Svalbard and Pacific samples (24 and 25, respectively). Haplotypes from different locations sampled around the Arctic and Subarctic were combined into two different groups: H1 and H2. The H2 includes sequences from the Kara Sea and Svalbard, was present only in the Atlantic sector of the Arctic. The other genetic group, H1, is widespread and found throughout all L. helicina populations. ? ST analyses also indicated significant genetic difference between the Atlantic and Pacific regions, but no differences between Svalbard and the Kara Sea. Discussion:The obtained results support our hypothesis about genetic similarity of L. helicina populations from the Kara Sea and Svalbard: the majority of haplotypes belongs to the haplotype group H2, with the H1 group representing a minority of the haplotypes present. In contrast, in the Canadian Arctic and the Pacific Ocean only haplogroup H1 is found. The negative values of Fu's Fs indicate directed selection or expansion of the population. The reason for this pattern could be an isolation of the Limacina helicina population during the Pleistocene glaciation and a subsequent rapid expansion of this species after the last glacial maximum.
Project description:The effects of ocean acidification (OA) on the early recruitment of pteropods in the Scotia Sea, was investigated considering the process of spawning, quality of the spawned eggs and their capacity to develop. Maternal OA stress was induced on female pteropods (Limacina helicina antarctica) through exposure to present day pCO2 conditions and two potential future OA states (750 μatm and 1200 μatm). The eggs spawned from these females, both before and during their exposure to OA, were incubated themselves in this same range of conditions (embryonic OA stress). Maternal OA stress resulted in eggs with lower carbon content, while embryonic OA stress retarded development. The combination of maternal and embryonic OA stress reduced the percentage of eggs successfully reaching organogenesis by 80%. We propose that OA stress not only affects the somatic tissue of pteropods but also the functioning of their gonads. Corresponding in-situ sampling found that post-larval L. helicina antarctica concentrated around 600 m depth, which is deeper than previously assumed. A deeper distribution makes their exposure to waters undersaturated for aragonite more likely in the near future given that these waters are predicted to shoal from depth over the coming decades.
Project description:Pteropods are a group of small marine gastropods that are highly sensitive to multiple stressors associated with climate change. Their trophic ecology is not well studied, with most research having focused primarily on the effects of ocean acidification on their fragile, aragonite shells. Stable isotopes analysis coupled with isotope-based Bayesian niche metrics is useful for characterizing the trophic structure of biological assemblages. These approaches have not been implemented for pteropod assemblages. We used isotope-based Bayesian niche metrics to investigate the trophic relationships of three co-occurring pteropod species, with distinct feeding behaviors, sampled from the Southern Kerguelen Plateau area in the Indian Sector of the Southern Ocean-a biologically and economically important but poorly studied region. Two of these species were gymnosomes (shell-less pteropods), which are traditionally regarded as specialist predators on other pteropods, and the third species was a thecosome (shelled pteropod), which are typically generalist omnivores. For each species, we aimed to understand (a) variability and overlap among isotopic niches; and (b) whether there was a relationship between body size and trophic position. Observed isotopic niche areas were broadest for gymnosomes, especially <i>Clione limacina antarctica</i>, whose observed isotopic niche area was wider than expected on both ?<sup>13</sup>C and ?<sup>15</sup>N value axes. We also found that trophic position significantly increased with increasing body length for <i>Spongiobranchaea australis</i>. We found no indication of a dietary shift toward increased trophic position with increasing body size for <i>Clio pyramidata</i> f. <i>sulcata</i>. Trophic positions ranged from 2.8 to 3.5, revealing an assemblage composed of both primary and secondary consumer behaviors. This study provides a comprehensive comparative analysis on trophodynamics in Southern Ocean pteropod species, and supports previous studies using gut content, fatty acid and stable isotope analyses. Combined, our results illustrate differences in intraspecific trophic behavior that may be attributed to differential feeding strategies at species level.
Project description:Relationships between six calcifying plankton groups and pH are explored in a highly biologically productive and data-rich area of the central North Sea using time-series datasets. The long-term trends show that abundances of foraminiferans, coccolithophores, and echinoderm larvae have risen over the last few decades while the abundances of bivalves and pteropods have declined. Despite good coverage of pH data for the study area there is uncertainty over the quality of this historical dataset; pH appears to have been declining since the mid 1990s but there was no statistical connection between the abundance of the calcifying plankton and the pH trends. If there are any effects of pH on calcifying plankton in the North Sea they appear to be masked by the combined effects of other climatic (e.g. temperature), chemical (nutrient concentrations) and biotic (predation) drivers. Certain calcified plankton have proliferated in the central North Sea, and are tolerant of changes in pH that have occurred since the 1950s but bivalve larvae and pteropods have declined. An improved monitoring programme is required as ocean acidification may be occurring at a rate that will exceed the environmental niches of numerous planktonic taxa, testing their capacities for acclimation and genetic adaptation.